SALT LAKE CITY – Prosecutors are seeking to forcibly medicate a woman accused of kidnapping Elizabeth Smart (search) to make her competent to stand trial, according to court documents.
Prosecutors filed a motion last month on behalf of the state's mental institution to force Wanda Barzee (search), 59, to take anti-psychotic medications for her mental disorder.
U.S. District Judge Judith Atherton (search) must now hold a hearing to determine whether the case meets certain federal criteria. No date has been set.
Barzee's attorney, Scott Williams, said the order would violate Barzee's rights and there is little likelihood it would change her condition.
"We will oppose it," he said.
Barzee and her husband, Brian David Mitchell (search), are charged with kidnapping then-14-year-old Smart from her bedroom in June 2002. The girl was allegedly taken into the foothills near her home, sexually assaulted and kept as Mitchell's second wife. They were found in March 2003 in a suburb about 15 miles south of Salt Lake City.
Barzee has been at the Utah State Hospital for nearly a year. At an August review hearing, Atherton found there was a "substantial probability" she would be competent to stand trial soon, but doctors said her mental health has deteriorated since then.
According to court documents, Barzee suffers from a psychotic disorder marked by grandiose delusions and paranoia. She has accused doctors of "working against God's plan" and refused to undergo routine medical procedures because she believes they will be used against her, court documents state.
Assistant Utah Attorney General Susan Eisenman, who filed the request for a medication hearing, said Barzee cannot be medicated unless the judge finds there is a strong likelihood it would make Barzee competent and there is no less intrusive treatment that would work.
"We are at an impasse without the court's intervention," Eisenman said.
Mitchell, 51, and his attorneys agreed he was competent last August, but his attorneys said his mental health then went downhill. He had to be removed from a competency hearing last month after bursting into song — the third time he has done that in recent months. His hearing continues on March 11.